Sports
10:12 pm
Wed January 5, 2011

Brandon: UM prepared to pay for top tier football coach

Now that University of Michigan football coach Rich Rodriguez has been fired, David Brandon says he'll work fast to find a replacement.

Brandon was hired one year ago as the University of Michigan's Athletic Director. During the past twelve months the U of M football program has been his primary concern.   

The football team has struggled on the field and violated NCAA rules off the field.  

Now, the once premier football program faces years on probation and an uphill climb to become truly competitive. 

Brandon says whoever he hires as head coach needs to be more than an average football coach:

 “This individual has to be able to compete at the highest level.  The expectations here are extraordinarily high.  The passion for this football program is unbelievable.  If you don’t believe me, you should see the email traffic. There are people out there who care.  And it’s beyond just sport for them.  It’s part of their life.  That’s put a coach in a position where they have to have the ability.  To stand up to that pressure and perform against it.

He makes it clear that finding an individual capable of resurrecting U of M’s once great football program will take money.

Brandon says in the past U of M traditionally didn’t pay top dollar for football coaches, but that’s about to change:

 “There’s a market out there and you pay for value.  And the marketplace dictates what those price tags are.  And I want you to know, my philosophy…and I believe my boss and my boss’ bosses understand that concept, we’ll do what we need to do to get the right coach to come to for Michigan."

But what is the ‘market value’ for the right coach?

John U. Bacon is an author of books about U of M football, including best-selling books about legendary coach Bo Schembechler. He’s also a Michigan Radio sports commentator. 

Bacon says speculation that U of M might have to pay its next head football coach at least $5 million a year is not out of line: 

“My guess is you have to go in the $3 to $4 million dollar category to get the kind of candidate we’ve been looking for now. It’s a Big Boy business and a Big Money business that’s for sure.”

There are many potential candidates for the University of Michigan football job, some with ties to Michigan, and others who’ve been successful at other schools.

U of M athletic director Dave Brandon is expected to act quickly to fill what is one of the highest profile college sports jobs in the nation.